Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – There is little doubt in the mind of Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson who will be the quarterback in week 1 this coming season.
In an interview with NFL Network’s Mark Kriegel, which aired Thursday morning from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Richardson said that he expects Brandon Weeden to win the starting job this offseason.
“I think he’ll be my quarterback,” Richardson said. “With that man, I have to say that we can’t put too much on Brandon, especially as a rookie. We can’t put too much on Brandon. We have to make sure he believes in us, make sure that he believes that we think we know that he’s going to be our quarterback. When it comes to stuff like that, we’ve just all got to be behind Brandon.”
Richardson, who was taken with the No. 3 pick in the draft last April after the Browns traded up 1 spot to get him, is coming off a season that saw him rush for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns – both new franchise records for a rookie running back surpassing Hall of Famer Jim Brown.
“For most people, they say I had a great season but for me I think it was OK,” Richardson said. “I probably have to say maybe it was a C-plus, something like that. But for me man, I expect more than that. I had 950 in rushing but I did have like 450 in receiving. It’s different when it comes to receiving and I’m leading the team in receptions and stuff like that.
“So when you’re doing a lot and from playing with broken ribs and coming off 2 knee surgeries before the season, it’s big.”
Although Richardson actually finished second in receptions the point was made – he amassed over 1,300 total yards offensively despite missing the entire preseason following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and breaking a pair of ribs in week 6.
“I never got healthy last year,” Richardson said. “The time I was getting healthy, I break a rib and that kind of damaged my mind a little bit. I was like, man, ‘I’m just now getting back right and getting my balance on and being able to cut right and stuff like because my first week back from running, I started running Thursday, maybe Wednesday and played on Sunday.”
The former Alabama back has already spoken to new head coach Rob Chudzinski about expectations for the 2013 season. The bar has been raised.
“He expects me to lead the team all the way,” Richardson said. “He’s telling me he’s going to put a big bunch on my back and he expects me to run on with it. And I said, ‘coach, you know I’m going to be in the best shape you know I can be and [if] you want me to be a leader this year, I’m going to make sure I’m going to be a team captain, a leader, whatever it takes you know to be that guy.”
Every year there are 1 or 2 teams that go from worst to first in the NFL but the Browns have mastered the art of consistency in residing in the AFC North cellar. After a 5-11 season that saw signs of promise, Richardson told Kriegel he believes the Browns could be 1 of those teams in 2013.
“For the most part, I’m pretty sure that we’re going to be a playoff team,” Richardson said. “I expect it and I can’t [think] anything less than that. For my team and the Cleveland Browns, I think that we are hoping and we are knowing that we are going to be there next year.”
As for the Combine, Richardson is amazed at the speed he’s seen over the last 3 days on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“It’s a lot of speed out here this year,” Richardson said. “Last year there wasn’t as much as the year before but this year there’s a lot of speed out here and a lot of guys you know that we don’t expect to do big things they’re coming out here and showing up.”
As for that No. 6 pick that the Browns hold in April, Richardson remains loyal to Alabama and a pair of members of the Crimson Tide’s back to back national title teams.
“It’s a couple of guys I got my eyes on, especially from Alabama,” Richardson said. “I like Chance Wormack and I like Dee Milliner. Both of them guys are 2 type of guys that love to play football and is going to be the best player on the field no matter what.”